Cottage Hospital Project On Track
Woodsville — A 16,000-square-foot, $4.3 million building with clinical and administrative space is under construction at Cottage Hospital and on track to open by September, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
“The project has been a while in the making,” said Maryanne Aldrich, Cottage’s community relations and fund development director, but hospital officials are determined to have the new Dr. Harry Rowe Health Center “in before flu season.”
Rowe, who died in 2012 at the age of 99, founded and practiced medicine for six decades at a Wells River clinic, delivered more than 1,400 babies and served on the local School Board for 61 years.
Cottage Hospital hopes to raise $1.2 million in capital contributions for the project, Aldrich said. So far, the hospital has raised about $20,000, and the proceeds of an annual golf tournament and road race will also be used to help pay for the project, she said.
Aldrich said the hospital has also applied for tax credits from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, which uses state tax credits and federal block grant funding to support affordable housing and economic development activities.
The balance of the funding for the Rowe clinic will come from a bank loan and from the hospital’s capital reserves, she said.
Cottage had about $2.7 million in cash and $6.6 million in long-term debt as of Sept. 30, 2013, according to the audited financial statement filed with the hospital’s latest publicly disclosed tax return.
That year the hospital posted net patient revenue of $29.9 million and its total revenue exceeded expenses by $887,000.
The Rowe clinic will provide additional space for Cottage’s internal medicine unit, which is a Medicare-certified rural health clinic. Such clinics receive “advantageous reimbursement as a strategy to increase rural Medicare and Medicaid patients’ access to primary care services,” according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has certified about 4,000 rural health clinics nationally, including the one at Cottage, 13 other facilities in New Hampshire and 14 in Vermont.
Since 2001, Cottage has also been designated a critical access hospital for Medicare, which has increased its reimbursement levels for services provided to patients covered by that program, which insures seniors and some people with disabilities.
The critical access program supports small hospitals that operate in rural areas that by certain measures are considered medically underserved.
Enhanced revenue from Medicare matters at Cottage, where the program accounted for about 50 percent of gross patient revenue in fiscal 2013, according to its audited financial statement.
Gross revenue reflects the list prices of services without taking into account the discounts and allowances included in the hospital’s contract with commercial insurers.
CMS has also certified two Cottage laboratories under a program designed to set quality standards for laboratory testing.
Rick Jurgens can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3229.